"Keep your face towards the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you." ~ Walt Whitman
First off, tell me how it's August. August. This past week I've noticed how there is less daylight when I wake up. Yes, even at 5:00 am, one notices these things through blurry eyes and foggy brain. It's happening, this loss of light. But let's not think about that yet, shall we? There are plenty of sun-soaked memories yet to be made. Go out and get yours.
I'm officially calling this my on the road summer. I haven't been around home much, and I kinda like it. My beau and I recently explored the southwest part of this province, and holy smokes, we were blown away by all of the gorgeousness the prairie has to offer. I sounded like a broken record with "it's so pretty" being repeated over and over again. We whisked ourselves away to a little cowboy cabin in the woods, and yes it was just as romantic as it sounds. Coffee was sipped on the front porch, while we watched horses graze on the opposite hill. Wind rustled through the trees at night, and the stars were so bright, so luminous, it made me a little verklempt. Peace and quiet - that's what we had, and it was glorious. During the day we rolled along back roads, with the windows down. Sadly, one gopher was killed on our excursion, but alas, these things happen. Road trips are a great way to get to know someone. Stories are told, songs sung. There is silence and laughter and hands held. Faces brown with sun, our smiles luminous like the stars.
Road trips need food, obviously, and these little energy bars fueled us well. Goodness knows they are so easy you can whip them up the night before, in between the laundry and packing and last minute shuffling. Peanuts, Medjool dates, dark chocolate and a pinch of sea salt are the magic ingredients. See that? No refined sugar, so these guys are practically health food. Plus they require no cooking, and are gluten free. Ding ding ding! The food processor does all of the work, breaking the dates down to a sweet binder that holds the bars together. Don't be afraid of dates, you can't even tell they are in here, especially with the one-two punch of peanut and chocolate at the forefront. Feel free to swap in another nut if you're not a fan of peanuts, and be sure to use a good quality dark chocolate to cut some of the sweetness from the dates. Substantial and chewy, a little bit of this bar goes a long way. Perfect for those days when only the highway is stretched out before you.
Easiest Energy Bars
1 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates, packed
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped dark chocolate, divided
Line a 8x8 pan with parchment paper, let the ends hang over the edge. Combine peanuts, dates, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 6 times to break up ingredients, then process continuously for about 2 minutes, or until ingredients clump together. Remove lid and add 1/2 cup chocolate. Process about 20 seconds to combine. Transfer mixture to baking dish and press in evenly. Melt 1/2 cup chocolate and pour over the bars. Cover and refrigerate bars for at least an hour or overnight, until the bars are firm and chocolate is set. Cut into 15 bars. Store in dish or wrap individually. Bars will be firmer when chilled, and softer at room temp. Will keep up to a month when refrigerated and up to a week if unrefrigerated. Recipe from The Kitchn.
These are some of my favourite snaps from the road trip. My guy is the greatest. "Just tell me when to pull over", he says. For more, check out my Instagram feed.
If you squint, you can see a wee cabin in the woods. We stayed at Reesor Ranch, and I can't recomend it enough if you want to vacation in and around Cypress Hills.
Just a little view with my morning coffee.
Stunning scenery at the ranch.
Into the great wide open.
On the way to Maple Creek.
Tall people make tall shadows.
I've been afraid of horses since I fell off of one at a kid's birthday party when I was 8, but I fed this handsome fella some grass and I still have all of my fingers. Yay me!
At Reesor Lake, we talked catch and release with this young man.
Of course there was a picnic.
I'd go back in a heartbeat, to this little cabin.